Most North Americans associate chile peppers with Mexican cuisine, but cultivation of the flavorful pods originated south of the equator. Capsaicin, which gives chiles their heat, has anti-inflammatory properties.
The success of tamale making depends on assembling the right steamer. Select a container with a lid that is large enough to easily hold all tamales, and use a stainless steel steamer rack, steamer basket or a Chinese metal or bamboo steamer, making sure that the water does not touch the rack.
This elegant first course features hearty king trumpet mushrooms, noted for their chewy, meaty texture.
To prep the bell peppers quickly, stand each on end, cut the “sides” away from the core, and then slice the sides into strips. Cut strips into desired length or into small dice. If heat isn’t an issue, use medium or hot salsa, but try to find a bottled, chunky one for this dish.